Thursday Tip ~ How to give life to your old, ugly love-seat!

Thinking back to my childhood, I always loved painting; and this continued to grow with me and follow me throughout my life. Now, I don’t just love painting, but more as it relates to remodeling and decorating. So, when we moved to our new home, and investing money in my home photography studio, refurbishing furniture was a must, to save some dough.

In my studio, I follow a very particular colour palette: grey, red, turquoise, and of course white. The upstairs viewing room needed a grey sofa and after many-many weeks of browsing Kijiji to find the cheapest alternative, I come to the conclusion that I just had to make one. Well, I’m not exactly a carpenter so instead of making a whole sofa, I decided to refurbish one. Off to Kijiji I go and to my surprise I found the perfect fit! It was a very UGLY love-seat bed, in the 70-80’s style. That was all I needed! I like to host people, so it’s important I have a pull-out bed for them in the studio, and I scored this ugly duckling for only $40! I think I may have paid way too much for it, but I was so excited to start on the project.

In my photography studio nearly every person that comes up to the viewing room compliments me on the sofa. People think it’s leather, and when I show them the original that’s actually underneath, and they see the gaudy old fabric, they are amazed how well it turned out. In this past year, I had numerous people sitting on it and although some hair and fuzz occasionally sticks to the fabric, I can say it’s holding up nicely! I wouldn’t advise you to use it in a high-traffic area, like your living room, but as a secondary seat it will be just fine.

Here is this wonderful flowery love-seat that needed some TLC (excuse my poor cell phone photos).

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After stapling the bottom fabric, I took the cushions off and placed the foam into a plastic garbage bag so the paint wouldn’t soak into the foam.

I purchased a gallon of returned paint (because the store messed up the colour for a previous customer) from Lowes, so I paid half-price on that. It was satin wall paint. I added Delta Fabric Medium and water, and started the never-ending painting! I read a few blog posts about how to paint my own sofa, discovering that Addicted 2 Decorating has a very concise description on what I wanted to do, so I followed her advice and used her recipe.

Looking pretty bad after the first coat. I used 2 parts paint, 2 parts fabric medium and 1 part water this time. The sofa was just soaking it in, and at the time, I didn’t think this will work at all.

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After letting it dry for a couple of hours, I went back to painting. I’m telling you it’s, crazy…

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Looking interesting to say the least! I used the same mix as the first time. You can see the difference from the first coat to the second. The paint was starting to stick and it wasn’t soaking in so much.  After each coat of paint is fully dried, you need to sand through the entire sofa with 220-grit sandpaper to get all of the bumps and imperfections off, before you cover it with the next coat of paint.

Now here is some advice: if you have a sofa with buttons and creases, make sure you dab into the opening and creases as much as you can. Also, pull the back cushions apart so you can paint in between them. It will start to stick together, but there’s nothing worse than to be done with your couch, and someone sits down, and because of the depression, they see that the middle part appears unpainted. As well, make sure that when you paint the creases, go back and check for dripping, and correct it before it dries. Here is an example of some of my obvious mistakes:


Coat #3. Its starting to look good! I’m getting excited! I was doing one coat a day, so this had been dragging along for days now. Can’t wait to finish:

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Day #4 and I think I’m done. The last coat, and I didn’t use water this time, just 1:1 paint and Medium.

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And voila! I’m done, and all decorated! I love, love, love my viewing room and that sofa….. ahhhhh.

Helga Himer Photography-sofa painting-diy-sudbury

Let me know if you have any questions or you need help with how to paint your sofa. I would be happy to chat either here or in private.

Keep on DIY-ing!



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